Newcomers flock to region despite Day Zero
A BRISBANE couple has thrown its support behind Southern Downs and Granite Belt still planning to retire here in the wake of emergency water restrictions.
Greg and Jane Turner have dreamt of retirement to Stanthorpe since the beginning of their marriage and said if anything, the drought compelled them even more.
"We saw that it was officially day zero and after coming here for years and years we posted on Facebook to let them know we're still coming," he said.
"Water restrictions, fires, it's been devastating but the rain will come and we are confident we will have an amazing lifestyle here."
Mr Turner 60, has been making the drive out since he was 18 and now still visits regularly with wife Jane, 58.
"I went there with a few mates when I was 18 for the wineries and now I still continue to go up and support local because everyone's so chatty and it's a lovely atmosphere," he said.
"The region and especially Stanthorpe really suits us and is big enough to have everything there but small enough to not be a faceless person in the community."
The community sentiment is drawing newcomers in across the board, according to real estate agent Helen Harm.
"I've been flat out, people are still coming and there's huge attraction to the area," she said.
"You can buy a place in Warwick for $225,000 with no renovations needed."
Ms Harm said new residents are attracted for multiple reasons.
"It's job prospects, investments, a slower lifestyle, love of the area, all of the above,"
"People are still falling in love with properties here and I guess my perspective is it's at its worst now, close your eyes and imagine when it will all be green again."
Mr Turner agrees, and said he's up for the task of getting through the drought with locals.
"I think I'm up for the challenge, I'm actually enrolling in a self-sufficiency college course online about water conservation, perma culture and bushfire management plans," he said.
"I think we have the privilege of being able to retire early and what better way to do it than in a community where we can make a contribution through volunteering, buying locally and inviting family and friends over."
Mayor Tracy Dobie said she compeltely understands the attraction.
"It was my dream too to return to Warwick later in life, and here I am," she said.
"Regardless of what's happening, it's a beautiful place to live and you've got everything you need here."
"It will rain again."
Mr Turner is even more excited to call Stanthorpe and surrounds home now after the overwhelming response he had from locals to his Facebook post.
"It blew us away, it really touched me and now it's all coming together."
"You know, we see what's happening in Stanthorpe and Warwick and think how much worse could it get, I've heard of farmers committing suicide and you think this drought is a third world problem that wouldn't happen in Australia," he said.
"But we say to people, stay strong, stay safe and we can't wait to join you."
Lifeline 13 10 13.